Suryakant Jena

A day after several senior administrative officials of the State government machinery called on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to extend congratulations over BJD's landslide victory in the urban local body elections, the Odisha unit of BJP on Monday lashed out at the State's top bureaucracy and accused it of tarnishing the image of civil service ethics and code.

Addressing a presser today, State BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan termed the meeting of top civil servants with the chief minister as a black spot for bureaucracy.

The babus have crossed the Laxman Rekha, the limits of professional ethics and decency by meeting CM Naveen to wish him on the poll win and this is extremely unfortunate, said Harichandan.

Principles of the Constitution mandate the Executive to ensure neutrality at all levels, but top civil servants in Odisha destroyed their rationality and constitutional obligations, the BJP leader said in his media interaction.

The senior BJP leader claimed that his party's allegations against BJD of misusing the entire bureaucratic machine to win elections time and again have been proved widely open now.

The civil officials have offended the people whom they are duty-bound to serve. On the one hand, while corruption has reached fever pitch in the State forcing the masses to slowly lose confidence on the government machinery, the administration is playing appeasement politics

However, BJD played down the statements of the BJP as baseless. Ruling party MLA Bhupinder Singh said it was a courteous call by senior officials of the government to the Chief Minister.

"Instances are galore even in States ruled by the BJP where the top bureaucratic, police and other officials of the government meet the head of the state after elections. Show of this camaraderie is the culture of Jagannath and of entire India," said Singh.

The development has also not gone down well with some other quarters including former civil servants.

Former State Chief Secretary Sahadev Sahu said showing real intention and public display of any act is quite different. If the officers really wanted to congratulate the Chief Minister, they could have done so, but without expressing it in openly in the public. The context of the incident also hints towards violation of political neutrality which should not have happened, explained Sahu.